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TUTHILLTOWN SPIRITS VS THE EU


grehorst

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Mr. Rekhi We seek a change in the EU definition of WHISKY. The change we seek would separate AMERICAN WHISKEY from SCOTCH WHISKY (note difference in spelling) and establish the two as different TYPES, in the same CLASS. The current definition requiring three (3) years aging for "whisky" may be applied to European products. However, American whiskey does not require three years in oak. It also requires that whiskey be aged in "new charred oak" casks; whereas Scotch whisky is aged in used American bourbon barrels. These are two different types of aged grain spirit. We are addressing this with the US TRADE COMMISSION and our Federal representatives. It is considered to be an embargo against new American whiskey producers and will be challenged. Our goal, in the absence of a redefinition by the EU, will be to prohibit all European whisky from being called "whisky" in the US, equal to the EU ban on young American whiskeys. We are already in touch with media who find it curious as we do, that the EU is redefining traditional American whiskey in an effort to prohibit these legitimate spirits from entering the EU in competition with Scotch whisky. Awaiting your reply, I am Ralph Erenzo Tuthilltown Spirits Gardiner, NY From:

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:09 AM

To: Ralph Erenzo

Cc: Subject: Fw: TUTHILLTOWN SPIRITS VS THE EU

Dear Mr. Erenzo,

Your email to our group Chairman is referred. Regarding the two issues raised by you in your aforesaid mail, please expand on your thoughts and advise Mr. T. V. Subramanian who in turn will brief me on my return from a business trip on August 7th.

With kind regards,

V K REKHI

.gs

cc: Mr. T. V Subramanian

To:

From:

Date: 07/06/2008 08:09AM

Subject: TUTHILLTOWN SPIRITS VS THE EU I own a small whiskey distillery in the Hudson Valley of New York, USA. We are the only whiskey makers in New York. Our products are on the best bars in Paris, London, New York, San Francisco and LA.

We share your associates ' view on the EU definition of " whiskey " and " whisky " . It is not for the Scotch Whisky Associat ion to define the products of others. The EU requirement for three years aging contradicts the American definition of whiskey; and both American Bourbon and American Rye whiskeys are specifically mentioned in the EU definition . The ruling is only a protectionist move to block competition.

I contact you now for two reasons. We are preparing to bring our premium hand made artisan whiskeys to India . And we are engaged with the American Foreign Trade Commission to challenge the EU definition. Perhaps there are matters we have in common to explore.

Ralph Erenzo

Tuthilltown Spirits

Gardiner, NY 12525

www.tuthilltown.com

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It's an interesting gambit and I will follow it with interest.

The spelling difference is still a losing argument, as more than anything else it is reflective of many spelling differences between American English and Standard or British English. It is even undermined by the U.S. regulations themselves, which use the "whisky" spelling.

As for the EU regs being overly influenced by the SWA, I would point out that SWA rules prohibit the use of enzymes, which the EU rules permit, likely in deference to the many American producers who use them.

I would also point out that aging in new charred barrels is required in the U.S. regs only for the named types, such as bourbon and rye. It is not required for mere "whiskey" (see section 5.22), and it is prohibited for corn whiskey.

The reality is that, in addition to Ralph's, the only American whiskey products that cannot be sold as whiskey in the EU are spirit blends, like Seagram's Seven Crown, and unaged corn whiskey. Seagram's simply replaced its GNS component with legal whiskey (not straight whiskey, but high proof whiskey aged in used barrels) for its product sold in the EU. Corn whiskey is barely sold in the U.S., and only by one major distillery, which probably sees no market for it in the EU anyway.

But knock yourself out.

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Indeed, the EU market is as yet undeveloped for the new craft distiller, and yes there are few underaged whiskeys in the US at this point. But that will change quickly as all those who are applying for licenses come on line over the next two to three years. Certainly the big alcohol guys are not concerned with this situation because it is in their best interests to keep that market to themselves, obviously.

But I totally disagree that we should simply do nothing. The EU laws are designed to keep new distillers out of the EU and out of competition with the SWA. That opinion is widely held in the US and EU. And the struggle may take years to resolve. But good things take time. And NOT addressing the issue is definately not the solution.

Who among the new whiskey distillers in the US is happy to wait three years to put their whiskey into circulation in the top cities in Europe if there is a ready market for them, which there is? In my travels abroad it was made very clear to me throughout the EU, the barmen and the consumers are pretty tired of the same old thing from the big alcohol brands. They want new things to offer their customers. The potential for the American Craft Distiller is very good, and profitable (no excise tax on products exported out of US, no distributor markup, sound good??)

I am reminded of the lyric: "The difficult we can do right now, the impossible may take a little time."

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Guest sensei
I would also point out that aging in new charred barrels is required in the U.S. regs only for the named types, such as bourbon and rye. It is not required for mere "whiskey" (see section 5.22), and it is prohibited for corn whiskey.

So, I would be correct in saying that it would be legal to age American whiskey in used sherry casks as are some Scotch distilleries?

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So, I would be correct in saying that it would be legal to age American whiskey in used sherry casks as are some Scotch distilleries?

"American whiskey" is not a legal designation, but "whiskey," with no further modification as to type, does not have to be aged at all and can, therefore, be aged in whatever cooperage the producer wishes, if the spirit meets the requirements for whiskey, which is a class of spirit. Most of the type designations under whiskey, if you want to use one of them, require aging in charred new oak, but not all of them do. Look at corn whiskey, straight corn whiskey, "whiskey distilled from bourbon mash," and others, which do not. Look at Early Times and Jack Daniel's, both of which make no legally-recognized type claim, and although Daniel's uses charred new oak exclusively, Early Times does not.

So you can be "Rocky Mountain Whiskey," or "Elkhorn Valley Whiskey," or any other fanciful whiskey "type," like "Kentucky whiskey" or "Tennessee whiskey," without any aging requirement. If the name or label description includes a known place, the product has to have been actually made in that place, but that's a different rule altogether. The point is, your product can be classified as "whiskey" if it meets the basic requirements for the whiskey class. You don't have to concern yourself with aging requirements if you avoid the use of any official type designation.

In the United States, that is, not in the EU. In the EU, the spirit has to be aged for at least three years, but any kind of wood can be used. Ralph's complaint is strictly with the required duration.

What would be good, Ralph? Although the U.S. regs don't explicitly say how long the product has to have been in charred new oak to earn the basic type designation, you've proven that three months is long enough. Is that the standard you would suggest the EU adopt?

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The following lifted directly from the CFR:

(ps, the happy face is not my addition, just comes up on the post, sorry)

WHISKEY/WHISKY

(B) Class 2; whisky. “Whisky” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak containers (except that corn whisky need not be so stored), and bottled at not less than 80° proof, and also includes mixtures of such distillates for which no specific standards of identity are prescribed.

(1)(i) “Bourbon whisky”, “rye whisky”, “wheat whisky”, “malt whisky”, or “rye malt whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored at not more than 125° proof in charred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type.

(ii) “Corn whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 80 percent corn grain, and if stored in oak containers stored at not more than 125° proof in used or uncharred new oak containers and not subjected in any manner to treatment with charred wood; and also includes mixtures of such whisky.

SCOTCH WHISKY

(7) “Scotch whisky” is whisky which is a distinctive product of Scotland, manufactured in Scotland in compliance with the laws of the United Kingdom regulating the manufacture of Scotch whisky for consumption in the United Kingdom: Provided, That if such product is a mixture of whiskies, such mixture is “blended Scotch whisky” (Scotch whisky—a blend).

(8) “Irish whisky” is whisky which is a distinctive product of Ireland, manufactured either in the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland, in compliance with their laws regulating the manufacture of Irish whisky for home consumption: Provided, That if such product is a mixture of whiskies, such mixture is “blended Irish whisky” (Irish whisky—a blend).

END CFR

Note please: The US gives way to SCOTCH WHISKY and IRISH WHISKY by declaring they are specific to the source country and must be "in compliance with their laws regulating the manufacture". The US CFR allows that Scotch and Irish Whiskies are produced differently than American Whiskey and the criteria for the designation "whisky" are determined by the source country; if not then why would they not fall into the category of "whiskey distilled from mash of malted barley" since the wood is not charred, as our own domestic whiskey is designated?

The EU producers are allowed in US law to call their product "whisky" even though it does not meet our own requirements for the term (without the qualifier: "from a mash of...."). Any US producer aging his whiskey in used oak is required to call it, for instance: "whiskey distilled from a mash of malted barley", rather than simply Single Malt Whiskey, as for instance the US spirit ST. GEORGE SINGLE MALT. Why do we in the US have to call out the fact of the "used oak" barrels vs the use of new charred oak? An American Single Malt Whiskey must be aged in NEW OAK to be called "Single Malt Whiskey"; whereas a Scotch Single Malt is not required to use the same descriptive and may call their whisky "Single Malt Whisky".

Additionally, under EU law we may NOT sell corn whiskey under the traditional and legitimate American title: Corn Whiskey.

If the SWA and the EU are defining the spirits in order, as their documentation and SWA stated position declares, to protect their own traditional domestic spirits, the regulations go well beyond that legitimate reason. But no reasonably intelligent consumer in the EU or anywhere else for that matter, would mistake a bottle labeled: BOURBON WHISKEY for product labeled SCOTCH WHISKY.

What we seek is equal treatment as the US gives the EU in recognizing that the American whiskey is a distinctive product of the US and differs in production methods. What the EU has done is to include a "type" criteria into the "class" definition.

Some solutions for the EU and the US to negotiate may include:

  • Specifying that the EU definition applies to whisky made in the EU; or
  • Deleting the 3 year minimum ageing requirement and including a 3 yr minimum under the "types": Scotch or Irish whiskies; or as mentioned above
  • Specifically defining American Bourbon and American Rye and American Corn Whiskeys as "distinctive American" spirits with their own Federally prescribed definitions.

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  • 1 year later...

A recent visit to pour some of our American Whiskey for the American Ambassador to Belgium in Brussels was a great success. The Department of Commerce Representative sat in on the meeting which lasted about an hour at the Ambassador's residence. Both Ambassador Guttman and the DOC officer were quite surprised and dismayed to learn we are obligated to remove the word WHISKEY from all labels we ship to the EU and that the EU had essentially redefined American spirits Bourbon and Rye. They promised to look into it. We met with similar reaction in Paris at the American Embassy there. The EU rules do not apply in non-EU nations such as Switzerland; which we learned on our recent introductory trip to Zurich aboard the WHISKYSHIFF. We sold our HUDSON WHISKEYS over the counter to eager buyers who forked over the equivalent of $72 for a 375ml bottle of American WHISKEY. These anecdotes are related to demonstrate the general lack of understanding among diplomats and bureaucrats and us poor working stiffs about the subtle but effective ways the major producers in EU have managed to slip American Whiskeys into a sort of "non-category" thereby keeping the competition low. The EU whiskey drinkers for whom we have poured on our visits overseas are very nearly unanimous about their love both of American Whiskey and of NEW whiskeys, "Finally, something new," was the most oft heard comment at EU events in reaction to our spirits.

This issue has not gone away. It is an enormous opportunity for small new American distillers. Distillers who export do not pay Federal or State excise taxes on the products shipped overseas. Export aids the balance of trade and is encouraged by the Fed.

Just a reminder: Louis Armstrong, Jimi Hendricks, Count Basie, indeed many more black performers who couldn't get a bed in a hotel or a booking in white America went to Europe where their color was of less consequence than the quality of their work. Then they came back here with street cred and became the pioneer black American musicians. And you know what? It's just a plane ride away.

But the EU inclusion of American Bourbon and American Rye whiskey types (called out specifically) in EU law is pure and simple protectionism and has to be addressed.

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Just a reminder: Louis Armstrong, Jimi Hendricks, Count Basie, indeed many more black performers who couldn't get a bed in a hotel or a booking in white America went to Europe where their color was of less consequence than the quality of their work. Then they came back here with street cred and became the pioneer black American musicians. And you know what? It's just a plane ride away.

But the EU inclusion of American Bourbon and American Rye whiskey types (called out specifically) in EU law is pure and simple protectionism and has to be addressed.

I love your attitude Ralph. Knockem' dead!

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With the help of Senator Gillibrand's office and some pushing from the US Ambassador to Belgium and his Dept. of Commerce staff there has been a response from the TTB to the issue.

Unfortunately the TTB Counsel who wrote me suggested, rather than free American Spirits from EU control, there is the opportunity to market American Spirits that do not meet the EU requirements for whiskey/whisky by simply calling our whiskey "aged grain spirits". The obvious response to this suggestion is: "It's WHISKEY."

The more salient point however is quid pro quo; the US CFR defers to the country of origin for determination of the criteria for defining a "national spirit". This argument is strengthened by the text of EU law which specifically includes "American Bourbon and Rye" whiskey, recognizing the provenance of the spirits.

The Department of Commerce and the International Trade authorities must insist the EU recognize the fact of common international agreement: definitions of National Spirits are the right of the Country of Origin. Certainly the French know this: Cognac, Champagne and Calvados may only be made in France under French rules. The same applies to Grappa in Italy and Tequila in Mexico. And of course the most obvious example is Scotch Whisky, which must be made in Scotland. It is common international trade practice.

Any new distiller in the US who intends to make whiskey is affected by this inequity. Contact your Senator or Congressman and insist they weigh in on this.Remind them the dire state of our balance of trade.

This is not a rhetorical suggestion. 200 American tax paying distillers calling their Legislators and the Department of Commerce would draw their attention. And your State Legislators can get on board too, since your success brings money from the EU to your State in the form of jobs creation, economic development, agricultural opportunity.

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  • 4 months later...

The following is Chuck Cowdery's comment from the Swiss/Absinthe thread, to continue the discussion here at this thread which is focused on the problem with EU law redefining American Whiskey:

During the 14th century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe. Present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

When Lithuanians talk about returning their nation to her historical borders, guess which borders they mean?

That's the problem with appealing to the "historical" understanding of something. Why should the definition that applied, say, 200 years ago, be considered superior to the current one?

There was a piece of meaningless fluff on the Discovery Channel last night called "How Whiskey Made America." As far-fetched as their stories were, they were only fetched at all if you consider "whiskey" and "alcohol" synonyms.

After the Civil War, the growth of railroads and introduction of the column still transformed distilling from an extension of agriculture into a fully commercialized industry. Terminology was pretty simple then. If it was made from grain it was whiskey, just like it was rum if made from molasses and brandy if made from grapes.

People who took the newly-available grain alcohol (what we call vodka) and flavored it with tea, prune juice, tobacco, and other ingredients to resemble aged whiskey felt entitled to call their product whiskey too, since it was made from grain.

But the people who carefully crafted a rich, low-proof spirit and flavored it with nothing but oak felt they had the sole right to use the word. The grain alcohol flavorers, known as "rectifiers," were by far the larger block. The forces for "pure whiskey" were concentrated in Kentucky and Tennessee. The battle between these two groups raged until 1909 and the Taft Decision, which represented a victory for the Taylors, Browns, Motlows, Samuels, Beams, Dants, Wathens, Medleys and other whiskey-making families.

The Taft Decision codified the definitions of "whiskey," "straight whiskey," and "blended whiskey" as we know them today. Since then it has been the case that although "storage in oak containers" is required, no minimum aging duration has ever been specified.

As recently as 1968 a group of producers argued for the adoption of a three-year minimum, but the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division (predecessor of today's Tax and Trade Bureau) rejected the proposal. The agency concluded that "it is preferable to permit the consumer an adequate basis for the selection of whiskies (even immature ones) than to limit his choice by banning them from the market. The mere desire to conform American regulations to those applicable in foreign countries is not sufficient justification for imposing the proposed limitation." (Industry Circular 68-03)

The American trade representative should argue that the United States is a major whiskey-producing country, has been for hundreds of years, and has a whiskey-making heritage that developed independently of other whiskey-making traditions. Current American rules are consistent with that tradition. It is not in the spirit of fair trade to expect American producers to change their authentic and long-held practices in favor of European ones. Nor is it in the interest of European consumers, who want access to authentic American products, not proxies reformulated to pass muster with the regulators in Brussels.

However, American producers need to be very careful about seeming to support changing the U.S. rules to eliminate the aging requirement altogether while simultaneously arguing that the EU should recognize American rules that require aging but conspicuously do not require a minimum aging duration. It would, however, be appropriate to argue that corn whiskey should be exempt from any aging requirement.

It is absurd that while the EU recognizes "Bourbon Whiskey" as a distinctive product of the United States, it doesn't accept the American definition of what Bourbon Whiskey is.

An acceptable compromise would be to allow that, in the EU, any product to be labeled "whiskey/whisky" only, with no modifier, must be at least three years old, but products labeled "American Whiskey," "American Blended Whiskey," "Bourbon Whiskey," "Rye Whiskey," "Corn Whiskey," etc., would only have to meet the requirements for use of those terms in the United States.

Thanks Chuck for the qualified historical perspective and a logical conclusion.

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I made a comment/asked some questions over on John's blog, adding to the whisky/whiskey discussion. It's waiting moderation there, but see below.

Chuck- I'd like your feedback on my questions as well.

http://www.whatdoesj...iance/#comments

"John Hansell, Chuck Cowdery, and any other historians and experts- Maybe you can help me out on this. When did Scotland and Ireland start aging whisky in barrels on purpose? Presently they age their products in used Bourbon barrels predominantly, and have for awhile. But isn’t barrel aging whisky/whiskey a relatively new thing starting in the 1830’s to 1850’s, and didn’t become a matter of course until the 1870’s?

Did barrel aging whisky start in the UK or the US? Or was it a fortuitous accident that happened in Europe and America at around the same time? I was under the impression that US Bourbon started barrel aging as a new style, sort of by accident, and that it caught on in Europe afterwards.

If so, then the US set the standards for whiskey.

Also when did Scotland move to the use of malted barley as the main ingredient in whisky? Isn’t that relatively recent? Before that wasn’t corn/maize the main grain used for a few hundred years? In addition, what was the main grain/s used in Scotland prior to corn? What about Ireland? Wasn’t it rye and maybe winter wheat?

(I can’t access my library since most of it is packed away from my last move, and I’m waiting for my new distillery to open to set it up again. So I don;’t have access to my information.)

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I don't know the European history well enough to answer your questions with authority, but it is my understanding that routine aging of spirits in all of the different cultures was a 19th century phenomenon, with the brandy makers of Cognac leading the way. I don't really see why who got there first matters. I don't care what EU rules require of EU producers, I just think European consumers deserve to taste American products the way American producers intended them, consistent with the unique American whiskey-making heritage. That's what free trade is all about. This isn't about protecting European consumers from something that would be harmful to them. This is about protecting the markets of Scotch producers.

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The TTB has an interesting set of pages in the wine section that descibes the current agreement/negotiation with the EU about wine issues - both labeling and manufacturing practices.

http://www.ttb.gov/agreements/us_ec_wine_agreement.shtml

It at least gives an idea of how the process works (or fails to work - it looks like there are as much caveat as treaty). I haven't seen the equivalent for spirits. Also, I haven't quite figured out the TTBs approach to European AOCs. The Agreement above has a huge explicit list of reserved origin names (as cowdery mentions in an earlier post). On the other hand, this list doesn't have any of the cider/pommeau AOCs that have arisen. And yet, I've been told by fellow cidermakers of COLA refusals based on the mere existance of AOCs with a similar name. Is that over-anticipatory regulation? Or the result of agreements I haven't found?

It's a very complex topic.

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From the outset when I raised this issue I have been told it was impossible to challenge this EU Law. But the change in the micro distilling community, the sudden expansion and legitimacy of new American whiskeys, as well as DISCUS' formation of a internal advisory council of micro distillers have given the issue legs. The conversation here seems agreed, at least by the US respondents; The EU can define EU based spirits but owes the US recognition of the long traditions and practices as unique to American whiskey and therefore should be afforded the same legitimate categorization in EU law which is given Scotch Whisky and Irish Whisky. As Chuck put it so well "It is absurd that while the EU recognizes "Bourbon Whiskey" as a distinctive product of the United States, it doesn't accept the American definition of what Bourbon Whiskey is."

But it is a physical law of the Universe, nothing changes without Cause, Inertia. The micro distillers must take issue with this exclusionary action and call the US Department of Commerce and the International Trade officials to task. Chuck's suggested remedy is reasonable. It's American Whiskey so why not call it such? But nothing happens unless you act. Contact your Congressman and US Senators and make a stink. This is your whiskey we're talking here.

Two points worth of reiteration: the new distiller needs to sell product as soon and as much as possible to survive (unless you are fortunate to have an "Angel" with deep pockets and deeper patience), and exported goods are not subject to State or Federal Excise Taxes or the cut your distributor gets. In all my trips over the pond and in all the bars I've ever sat in across Europe, 90% of those bars have one American whiskey: Jack Daniels. Bartenders welcome new American whiskey. There is a ready and willing market for new American whiskeys in the EU.

R

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Just for the sake of completeness - I did locate the EU Agreement on Spirits from 1994. But it looks laughably small. Paragraph B has the bit that gives Ralph conniptions (and quitely rightly.)

http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/All_Trade_Agreements/exp_002818.asp

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Here is the section of the above noted letter of agreement as between the EU and US:

A. The USA agrees to restrict, within its regulatory framework (27 CFR 5.22 or an equivalent successor regulation), the use of the product designations: "Scotch whisky", "Irish whiskey"/"Irish whisky", "Cognac", "Armagnac", "Calvados" and "Brandy de Jerez" to distilled spirits/spirit drinks products of the Member States of the EC, produced in compliance with Council Regulation (EEC) No 1 576/89 and with the laws of the Member States in which those products originate. Further, it is recognized that these products shall continue to be subject to all of the labelling requirements of the USA.

B. The EC agrees to restrict, within its regulatory framework (Council Regulation (EEC) No 1 576/89, Article 11 or an equivalent successor regulation), the use of the product designations:"Tennessee whiskey"/"Tennessee whiskey", "Bourbon whisky"/"Bourbon whiskey" and "Bourbon" as a designation for Bourbon whisk(e)y to distilled spirits/spirit drinks products of the USA produced in compliance with the laws and regulations of the USA (27 CFR 5.22 or an equivalent successor regulation). Further, it is recognized that these whiskies shall Continue to be subject to all of the labelling requirements of the EC.

C. The USA and the EC agree to meet at a mutually convenient time in the future to discuss the possibilities of extending restrictive recognition to additional distilled spirits/spirit drinks products which either Party may propose for such consideration. This willingness to meet and consider such requests is without prejudice to the rights and rulemaking processes of either Party.

D. Both Parties agree to consult, upon request, regarding the operation of this Agreement.

E. Both Parties agree to implement within sixty days of the date of your confirmatory reply all regulatory or administrative measures necessary to fulfil the obligations outlined in Paragraphs A and B above.

F. Either Party may terminate this Agreement by written notification to the other Party. This Agreement shall expire twelve months after the date of such notification.

It would seem sections D and F leave the door open for revision of this agreement. The disconnect in the above agreement is that paragraphs A and B are not equivalent, in that EU law is respected as to the provenance and traditions of Irish and Scotch Whiskeys, but this same respect for provenance and tradition of American Whiskey is not offered in return. Though these two paragraphs acknowledge the countries of origin and the specific laws of those countries (specifically the EU Member States and US), the EU regulations specifically state that American whiskeys must meet the aging requirements of Scotch and Irish whiskeys. In the EU regulation called out in the letter, American Bourbon and Rye whiskeys are specifically named, identified as American and then made subject to EU aging regulation, giving recognition with one hand, taking it away with the other.

Chuck's idea is a good one. Simply revise the statement to read "American Whiskey" rather than specifically Tennessee and Bourbon whiskeys. And revise the applicable EU labeling regulation to define American Whiskey in the same way as we define Scotch and Irish Whiskys, deferring to the traditions and laws of the country of origin.

R

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Chuck's idea is a good one. Simply revise the statement to read "American Whiskey" rather than specifically Tennessee and Bourbon whiskeys. And revise the applicable EU labeling regulation to define American Whiskey in the same way as we define Scotch and Irish Whiskys, deferring to the traditions and laws of the country of origin.

R

Not "rather than" but "in addition to."

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Point taken, Chuck. Adding may be a lot easier than taking away.

I suppose it might lead to the question: is "American Whiskey" different from "Bourbon Whiskey"? Or, is it "American Bourbon Whiskey"? That is for others to parse.

How might this be proposed? The EU and the US agree to a change in the EU regulation which would be on par with the US counterpart, recognizing American Whiskeys which meet American legal requirements for the distinctly different Whiskey made by US rules.

I find it curious the Federal Government would approve "appellations" for Tennessee and Kentucky whiskeys in a foreign trade treaty. Gee, wouldn't I love to have "New York Whiskey" recognized as a Type by the EU; oh, but it does not confer any additional benefit after all does it? I mean, it if ain't three years old, it ain't whiskey in the EU, even it's Bourbon or Kentucky or Tennessee Whiskey which are recognized by the EU as distinct types......Huh?

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It was pointed out to me recently that in Canada, you won't find a label that says "Canadian Blended Whiskey." In Canada, it's just "Canadian Whiskey."

"American Bourbon Whiskey" would be redundant, but the term "American Rye whiskey" might be useful, for example, to designate a rye-based whiskey made according to American rules. The EU would simply require that the term "whiskey" must be modified by "American" only when the product complies with American rules for "whiskey" but not with EU rules. Therefore, one could sell "American Corn Whiskey" unaged, or "American Rye Whiskey" lightly aged. "Bourbon whiskey" and "Tennessee Whiskey" could be safely assumed to incorporate the expectations of "American whiskey" because they can't be from anywhere else. Products that comply with EU rules could just be labeled "whiskey" without the "American" modifier.

One can imagine how this might also allow American blends to be imported into the EU unchanged, but I'm not so sure that's a good idea. The idea that we allow whiskey-flavored vodka to be called whiskey is pretty hard to justify, really.

There is a difference between appellations and distinctive products. The EU, through reciprocal agreement, recognizes "Bourbon Whiskey" and "Tennessee whiskey" ("Kentucky" is nowhere mentioned) as distinctive products of the United States as defined by American law. If American law allowed "Tennessee whiskey" to be made in Vermont, the EU would accept that.

While these trade agreements are illustrative of the types of agreements that exist, they have nothing to do with the EU's own internal rules, to which the United States is not a party.

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Was thinking along the same lines. A simple adjustment to the EU regulation stipulating under their Labeling regulations that American Whiskeys be designated as you suggest. We'd welcome that change. And it would leave no doubt in the minds of the consumers the origin of, or the rules under which they were made.

I'd also thought if the EU required an accurate age statement on goods from US distilleries qualifying the whiskey where applicable as: "Aged under Three years in Oak" or some such it would address the fear the consumers would be misled. And may I add, the insinuation (and in some cases outright accusations) the American whiskey makers are somehow trying to pull one over on the European consumer is inaccurate at best and insulting at worst. I don't know a single American distiller who is deliberately trying to copy Scotch or Irish whisky intending to hoodwink the consumers into thinking their product is anything but what it is. And to any enraged whisky Scotch and Irish whisky fans, Different is not necessarily Better or Worse; and it is most certainly is not demeaning.

The best and fairest to both the EU and the US would be what Chuck has suggested. It's American Whiskey made under American regulations. With this small change there is no way for the proponents of the EU regulation to cite consumer awareness or the any possibility the great history and tradition of Scotch and Irish Whisky would be harmed in some way. It ain't Scotch or Irish Whiskey if it's from the US. It's American Whiskey, dag-nab-it.

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But the Scotch and Irish distillers don't want any competition from American whiskey.

Now if you can get the threat of the US limiting sales of Scotch and Irish whisky here in the US because of their unfair competitive advantage vis-a-vis American whiskey, you'll see a change. Otherwise, the Scotch and Irish distillers are very happy with the way things are.

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Given the economic consequences to American retailers, on premise, wholesalers and importers, it is a losing battle to even threaten any action to prevent Scotch or Irish whisky from entering the US, we'd be hurting American economic interests as much as any others. And we'd be fighting those economic interests, players with far greater finances and legislative influence than we enjoy at the moment.

I believe the effort should focus on quid pro quo. Or as Chuck suggested, negotiating a change in EU labeling regulations to accommodate and recognize American whiskey traditions and methods, which are as legitimate as any other traditions and history.

That said, it is a very good point to raise with the Trade negotiators, the inequity of the current situation and its inference that American whiskey is not real but Irish and Scotch whisky is. Absolutely silly claim, easily disproved with a look at History.

Note that the regulation in EU law allows for reopening of the discussion and changes to the regulation, or outright rejection with notice. It is a toe in the door.

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